A year on since the first national lockdown, 20,500 calls have been made to the #StokeonTrentTogether helpline with 140,000 proactive welfare calls made to 30,000 households across the city.

#StokeonTrentTogether was formed by Stoke-on-Trent City Council working alongside local charity and voluntary sector organisation VAST in March 2020, and was designed to meet the everyday needs of vulnerable residents who are affected by Covid-19 specifically those who are self-isolating and who do not have the support of friends or family to call upon.

A designated website and helpline was set up and over 700 volunteers have been recruited and deployed to offer support such as, food shopping, prescriptions collecting, befriending calls and dog walking.

Over the course of the year:

20,500 calls have been received to the helpline
140,000 proactive welfare calls have been made to 30,000 households
150,000 individual meals have been provided to those in need
32,000 food vouchers have been provided to families
150 slow cookers and ingredients for 12 weeks have been given to families
2,600 prescriptions have been collected and delivered
1,000 fuel poverty vouchers have been issued
100 temporary storage heaters have been provided
120 dogs have been walked regularly
In excess of 144 organisations have offered support

Council leader Abi Brown said: “Reaching this anniversary gives us all a moment to reflect. Since the start of the first lockdown alongside partners we have worked to manage the city’s response to the pandemic. The amazing success of #StokeonTrentTogether is down to the support of many residents and local organisations offering their time and resources. I have heard so many stories of how residents have used the service and have been extremely grateful for the support they got. Whether it be food shopping collecting whilst somebody was self-isolating or a befriending call to a shielding resident, these small gestures of help make all the difference.

“Throughout the past year, the people of Stoke-on-Trent have worked together and shown community spirit. It’s really shown the country what Stoke-on-Trent is made of. We’re a city that cares and a city that pulls together through tough times – and we will be stronger together for it.”

Lisa Healings, Chief Executive of VAST said: “It has been a real privilege to be a part of #StokeonTrentTogether and to support the Voluntary, Community and Social Enterprise Sector across the city with recruiting volunteers as well as helping them to increase their capacity to deliver services to the most vulnerable in our community during such unprecedented time. Charities and Community Groups have worked together and collaborated like never before to ensure that no one in our community was missed or left isolated and alone.”

Residents can access the #StokeonTrentTogether support service if they need help because they are shielding, self-isolating or struggling due to the pandemic. You can contact via 0800 561 5610, which is open Monday to Thursday, 9am – 5pm and Friday, 9am – 4.30pm  

Meanwhile to support families in need, the city council is providing a £30 food voucher for over the Easter holidays.

If a child is eligible and attends a school or school nursery in the city the school will provide a voucher. Vouchers are also provided for families with children who live in the city and attend a private nursery with a funded two year old place; or eligible for Early Years Pupil Premium and families with children who live in the city, have an Education and Health Care Plan and attend a school outside the city or are educated at home

The council provided 30,662 food vouchers for families with eligible children in the city over Christmas and February half term and a further 13,800 vouchers are expected to be issued through schools directly and by the council over Easter.

People can apply by completing the online form at stoke.gov.uk/foodvouchers or calling 01782 234234.

Council leader Abi Brown continues: “We have moved quickly to make this scheme available so that we can help more families who need our help the most. Please make use of it if you qualify and need support.”

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